tv Newsmakers CSPAN July 6, 2014 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
trying to get the vote on the senate floor. in a sense, this is about political pressure and optics more than forcing the president to actually sign a bill. i think they are a little bit shy of even the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. if they can convince reid to bring something to the floor, what you would see is a majority of the senate and a number of democrats saying that we want this pipeline and that creates political pressure on the white house for sure. host: any idea from the white house as to when they want to make this decision? i know they're looking at nebraska but what is going on as far as the timeline? >> basically there is not one. the most recent delay you referenced is indefinite. based in what's happening in nebraska, it almost surely pushes it to after the midterm elections in november. many people are starting to wonder whether the president may
decide to punt this to the next administration and not make a decision. he would come under a lot of criticism for people who say you cannot say we need infrastructure and when he to cut red tape and speed up permitting and then have eight years of delay over a pipeline. on the other hand, you have a president who has made a rather historic commitment to fighting climate change and those things are opposites. host: thank you both for being part of "newsmakers." >> you will see it is pretty healthy. perspective, they are at 6 billion. therful, which represents
nation's of 4 billion. they have a $6 billion campaign going on right now. of facility,type to produce that type of system, we have to have that type of investment. the 17th president's go out and in, to sure that we expand. >> howard university interim president dr. frederick on the challenges facing the predominantly black university. tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. with current touch events from the nation's capital using any phone, anytime, with c-span radio.
every weekday, listen to a recap of the days events at 5:00 eastern. it can also hear audio of the public programs beginning sundays at noon. next, a discussion on war crimes being committed in syria. the state department's ambassador at large talks about what his office is doing to prosecute members of the syrian regime and the opposition. they are accused of it -- committing mass atrocities. this was cohosted by the atlantic council. it is just under one hour and a half. >> ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. atlantic council center. my name is fred hopp.
i am a senior fellow at the career center. i am delighted to see such a large crowd this afternoon. one thing that everybody in this regardless of on, political orientation or anything else, is that on days like this in washington dc, is a good thing to have indoors. center and oure cosponsor, the public international law and policy group, i would like to welcome you to this discussion, this conversation with ambassador rapp on war crimes it in syria, the challenge of promoting accountability and protecting civilians. if you would like to join this discussion online, please use the hashtag #acsyria.
we would very much welcome the cosponsorship of the public international law and policy group. the pro bono law firm, whose leaders have participated in a blue-ribbon committee that has forared a discussion paper a tribunal that could ultimately prosecutors syrian tratrocities. the reason we are here today is to hear from a former colleague, whose work i admired it continue to admire very much, ambassador steve rapp. he is the ambassador at large and the department of state of war crimes issues. he heads the office of global criminal justice and has had this job since september, 2009.
among other things he has served with the station and prosecutorial roles having to do with atrocities in sierra leone and genocide in rwanda. on a personal note, i will say that from march, 2011, when the syrian crisis began, until september, 2012, when i set aside my own duties of the department of state, steve and i were colleagues in the search for both political transition and accountability in the context of syria. dedication and's energy very much. i believe that as a general matter, we are much better served by our public servants and many of us many of us realize in this country -- in the case of steve, i think it is
particularly true. believer who true brings energy, dedication, a determination to everything he does. i recallimportantly, very specifically that your work was deeply admired by the secretary of state. our formats today will be that of a discussion. we will start by getting ambassador rapp an opportunity to describe his mission to the united states government and the main challenges he faces in trying to accomplish that mission. he and i will then have a brief conversation after which i will open the floor up to your participation. and our goal this afternoon is to conclude at 3:30 sharp.
steve, welcome. we are deeply honored that you could find the time to do this this afternoon. i would like it to get things rolling. describe your mission, describe the things that are keeping you from accomplishing it in the next 20 minutes. >> ok. that is a tall order. office havely, my been in the state department now for 17 years. it was established in order to our further -- further our policy on mass atrocities. our engagement with international criminal court. increasingly to assist and
support on a case-by-case basis, in order to the fill the goal of whoing leaders responsible have committed the worst crimes known to humankind. in the last 20 years a lot has happened. most dramatic change in the international system, the fact that people like the look melokovich was brought to justice, who i've personally prosecuted, the president of liberia personally prosecuted. the prime minister of rwanda. those individuals have been held to account. and if we deal with what has been done, we look at other situations, some past, some very
current like that in syria. where the documentation for the syrian observatory of human rightss shows more than 55,000 people killed as of march, 2011. numbers greater than the former yugoslavia and in sierra leone. and the terms of the conduct of the government, the assad government, a war against its own people, beginning with the showed -- shooting a peaceful demonstration leading to the dropping of barrel bombs on civilian neighborhoods, and over time, to the torture and murder of thousands of people. they that are doing the crimes there. they started that activity and the vast majority it is their responsibility, but now we have other groups and armed opposition committing other horrors. beheadings and hangings of the
innocent in public view by groups like isis that now spread their poison into a rack -- ira q. the challenge in my office is to believe in justice. heavily take the lessons that we have learned that these international tribunals, how do we fill the expectations of the victims and the survivors of what is happened? there are different ways to do it. ways that we already are, ways that we already can. they are not as satisfying as they might be but we are looking at every possible alternative. first of all, we are doing a fantastic job of documenting what is going on out there. of 2012mber in april istanbul, secretary clinton announce our support for
documentation, the establishment of an international center supported by our government and at least 40 other governments that is also supporting groups in the field that are collecting documentation, and they are getting close to gathering more than one million pages of documents. believe, butble to the syrian government has a mania for documentation that we haven't seen since the nazis. certainly an example of that sincebe the photos -- that time, these photos have been made available to law enforcement agencies around the world and they are being analyzed. what those guys said was there in january is there. evidence of thousands of individuals tortured to death.
individuals that have been strangled and mutilated, gouged, burned, scarred. i have seen hundreds of these images, and you can see the agony. card -- inwith the thousands to prove to somebody that yes, indeed, we did kill that guy and we killed him in a truly horrible way. time was they were arresting people and letting them go to discourage others, but now we see this intense effort to murder after torture. the question is what can we do about it? we can document it, we can put up a commission of inquiry. we have strongly supported that, and it has been supported by the human rights council.
there are only a couple of dissenters in establishing the center and cory. -- center of inquiry. we have the denial of humanitarian access, we have laws and rules that have been in effect for hundreds of years where you didn't target ambulances were doctors and nurses, and now those people are being targeted. they are in greater danger almost than the civilians. this is being effectively documented by this u.n. commission of inquiry. to mexico and geneva, -- to ago, it is almost like they found a home. it is my job to say that that ends and that there is no impunity and that people are brought to account. what can we do right now? i think it is important to note that when we get this documentation and when we see that among bae systems -- among
these systems, whether they are north or south, they can have jurisdiction of the cases, people can be charged to her in that hierarchy. you have got 24 facilities in which those murders took place, and it was in command. evidence can give states the ability to prosecute even before you have got an international court. and -- i years at the got one 50 years. my son made the mistake of flying through florida, and he was picked up by customs. he was tried by a jury in florida and sentenced to 97 years he is serving 97 for crimes he didn't commit in
liberia. those kind of cases can be built, and the signal to focuses there is not going to be any place to go visit your children or family. you are going to face consequences. that is something we can build on already. seen that, we want to justice in syria in the future, hopefully with peace and certainly as part of peace, the idea that responsibility -- it is impossible to imagine a serious that would go forward with those that have been responsible for killing and torturing thousands of individuals holding key positions. what's rebuild, what to plan for in terms of the future with the syrian people has to be something in which there is appropriate accountability. we can also look at international approaches. we can go to the security council of the united nations in support of our french allies to refer to this -- refer this to the icc.
you have got soviets here at the atlantic council. [laughter] maybe that's ok. chinese that blocked the referral, but there are other alternatives, and i think we can talk about ways that they can be developed. for instance,es, i mentioned cambodian case -- the cambodian case, the assembly asked the secretary to negotiate with cambodia to create a court and follow-up on that. we have the chambers and cambodia with international tried, the leaders being we are contributing financially to it, we are part of the committee that decides on the budget. in senegal, for instance, or
chad, yet people that are accused of killing thousands, torturing tens of thousands, he was in power. senegal.e fled to no senegal has entered into an agreement with the african union. togethere to put that and establish an extraordinary chamber to try crimes committed in chad in an international court in senegal. there are ideas that i think need to be moved forward, we are not endorsing any of it in terms of the u.s. government, but we want to work with those that have been involved with others in the region, to begin building when this evidence we presented in the court of law. when those responsible will be tried. >> we have seen as you look at the situation in syria, as you compare it with other aces -- c
ases, did you see anything peculiar about this particular case? any thing special? or is it all just the same pattern that you have seen in sierra leone, elsewhere? >> as i indicated earlier, one is peopleects of it make more efforts to cover their tracks. to refer to their acts of killing and torturing with euphemisms, to divorce themselves. that happens to some extent in races like sierra leone. they go out and commit some horrible hand-to-hand battles, and they are directly tying that to regimes that require evidence, which i think is there. but as we see with the caesar photos, this government and the
security service and those involved in the complex structure of political power in that century don't really hide their tracks. it gives us a lot more to work with. the idea that somehow this is all going to be swept under the rug, that these kind of horrors are going to be forgotten is impossible in our world. is abuzz that have worked in this field, that are part of governments around the world, will fight until the day of justice arrives. >> and on that day, whose call is ultimately -- you hear learned discussions about accountability, reconciliation, justice, all of this. what is the role of syrian people?
what is the role of the international community? how will he come to the decision being made to move forward on the basis of this enormous volume of documentation that has been accumulated? isthe essential decision with the syrian people, but do keep in mind that there are certain crimes that go beyond national concern. 2005, it was said that every , andnment in the world international organizations and other states are responsible for preventing genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity. clearly we have proceeded in many cases, like the prosecution melissa -- melosovich. perhaps the people in some parts
of that country would want that accountability. but when the crimes are so extreme, there is no -- as secretary kerry said, when it comes to these mass crimes like crimes of sexual violence, there is no amnesty. there is nothing that would prevent the prosecution. we have to raise, to recognize that's very real reality. when a societye, is going through this kind of -- one does not want everyone prosecuted. one does not want the massive vacation -- massification. people whos in which were followers, who were marched
into this, can redeem themselves and reconcile with the natives. but we want those who were the authors of the crimes to face consequences. the pattern internationally has countries with a fair and balanced justice system argue, that is always our preference. sometimes when you have figure leadership is in order to make sure that that is a fair and balanced process, you go to international organizations. but for the larger group of individuals, you look for national. but those institutions need to be ones that are represented in every community. and obviously in syria, sunnis, christians currents -- christian had bes, they
represented in the judicial process. even after the yugoslavia tribunal, we had to work to establish a state court at the national level with judges for each of the major communities. we also had international judges that were there for six years. when i saw the investigators, judge, prosecutors, somebody from the other group, they might have been confidence, they might've been fearful, but when they see international, they see that the prejudices can be checked at the door. we will say what works here. what i think is important is that people recognize as is going to happen, and we need to begin talking about what essential elements are going to have to be part of it, and also to strengthen the perception that justice will be here and
will deter some of the conduct, encourage people to desert. respect, what would be your reaction, your advice, if in the fullness of time, we are faced with the following proposition. 200 of hisassad and closest enablers are willing to and bringa forth with an end to at least one phase of this conflict. unity from form prosecution. -- for immunity from prosecution. is that doable under current conditions, is it unthinkable?
were actually presented with a proposition like this? >> i have not seen any evidence that this guy or the people around him are ready to go. that is often what is presented -- you give the guy a bone hole or a place to go -- boat hole or a place to go. or you have a situation like we had an sierra leone where they agreed to step down, to help broker an industry between the -- they thoughtful amnesty. they agree to disarm but they didn't disarm. that is the problem with any of these kinds of amnesties from a practical standpoint. signal a sense that you can get away with that, so next time you want to gain or hold political power, if you do the same thing, confident you'll be able to walk again. that is not how we want
to enforce the law in our country or anywhere in the world. but fundamentally, from an international point of view, it is one thing to say you can go, and at the time of their -- time they go, they may not be a court a it'se may not be another thing court. it's thing to give them a get out of jail free card for the rest of their life. they have different policies and different approaches, but there is a lot in international law that is not possible. it would not prevent a prosecutor like myself going after them, full stop. these crimes are too serious. e> sentences -- since you'v aloud many opening of a
hypothetical question-- >> i don't answer hypotheticals. >> perhaps you give this one a try. -- assad's a side attorney, and if you were taking potential, about his is personal potential liabilities in all of this, what would you be telling him, in terms of his liability, and what would you be advising him, in terms of the future course of action to minimize whatever liability he might've had? >> it's hard to talk hypothetically knowing what you documents.g seen the the accusations are out there. to someonealways,
who could be held responsible for these crimes, is one it is not too late to stop, don't make it worse by continuing. stop now, without saying, oh, we forgive you. we don't make that kind of promise. secondly, consistent with the law commanded responsibility, the extent of the individual begins some kind of process to hold people to account who have committed these crimes. they send the signal that perhaps they weren't completely -- and certainly you can show that you took action to prevent or punish it, one of the easier routes to conviction of someone at the international level is barred. depends on how quickly the guy
acted, but the extent that he this is not something i support, these individuals who ran these prisons should be charged, and not the scapegoating kind of process. if you take that kind of step, that is good, and that is why people are engaged in peace negotiations elsewhere, and don't want to talk about this. look, youre and say, should be talking about accountability measures. what are you going to do about it? what you going to do about these out-of-control soldiers or political zealots or extremists? what is your action on that? to the extent that you come forward with plans that would increase your -- the chance that you wouldn't be a target for prosecution, keeping in mind that it is also any international